Thessaloniki’s Infamous ‘Red Tide’ is Back and It May Stay Awhile



The waterfront of Thessaloniki. Photo credit: A.M.N.A

The so-called “red tide” has once again made its appearance in the waters of the Thermaikos Gulf of of Thessaloniki’s coastline. According to scientists, it is likely to be a recurring phenomenon.

The “red tide” is the commonly-used name for a global phenomenon that is known as algae bloom.

The reappearance of this phenomenon in Thessaloniki resulted in emergency clean-up operations conducted over the weekend. In an interview with the state-run A.M.N.A. on Monday, Maria Moustaka, professor of biology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, these efforts mitigated the problem to some extent.

In June 2017 the phenomenon took over the entire waterfron of Thessaloniki.

“The cleaning of the surface water helped because within the slimy mass lay ‘hidden’ the dinoflagellate ostreopsis, which is potentially toxic and has created respiratory problems in some areas of Italy, where it has bloomed,” Moustaka said.

She explained that the bloom that gives the waters a brownish tone is not the direct result of the unseasonably high temperatures, but the impact that these high temperatures have on the movement of the waters, noting that it is a complex and eutrophic system that is monitored by the scientists.

“Our prediction is that as long as the reasons that provoke the red tide exist, the phenomenon will appear again and again,” she said.

Red tides are caused by an explosive growth and accumulation of certain microscopic algae, predominantly dinoflagellates, in coastal waters.

These rust-colored algal blooms made up of phytoplankton and protozoans can form dense, visible patches near the water’s surface.

The ride tide usually appears twice a year in the Thermaikos Gulf every spring and every autumn and typically lasts a couple of weeks. Along with an unpleasant odor, it adversely impacts fisheries.

Source: A.M.N.A.